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Gradate Curriculum

The Program

Our Master’s program in Geology is designed to prepare graduates for employment in all fields of Geological Science, and teaching at secondary or community college levels. Emphasis is placed on applied skills demanded by potential employers. Fundamental to the program is a thorough understanding of basic geologic principles rooted in field and laboratory experiences. The geologic framework provided by the MS degree will enable graduates to meet the intellectual challenges of their professional or academic careers and assume leadership roles in their profession. The program is sufficiently flexible to meet student interests in the application of geology to the solution of hydrologic, geophysical, environmental, geoengineering, or resource extraction problems facing society. As a polytechnic university we are dedicated to the “Learn by Doing” philosophy and stress practical interactions between students, faculty and industry / government professionals. The Geology Department is a member of IRIS (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology , and is involved in the California State University Water Resources and Policy Initiative. Faculty research endeavors are supported by grants from such agencies as National Science Foundation, USGS National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, Southern California Earthquake Center, Department of Education, and JPL / Caltech. The Department maintains a robust alumni network, including many individuals who work in local geoscience industries and government agencies.

The Curriculum

To earn a Master’s degree in Geology, students must complete 45 quarter units. (Click here for Degree Requirements and other details)

Links to:

Appication & Admission

How to Apply

Apply online through http://www.csumentor.edu/ Please also send hard copies (or electronic files) of your application and supporting materials to:

Admissions Requirements

Unconditional Admission into the Geology Master’s program is contingent upon the following:

  1. A Bachelor’s degree in Geology or a closely related discipline (e.g., Geotechnical Engineering, Hydrology, Geophysics, Earth Science, Environmental Science) from an accredited institution, with a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 in Earth science courses, and a 2.5 grade-point-average in related science and mathematics courses;
  2. Satisfactory performance on the Graduate Record Examination Aptitude Test with an expected score in the 50th percentile or better on the verbal and quantitative components;
  3. Two letters of recommendation;
  4. A one-page personal statement of interest, including research and career aspirations;
  5. A minimum of 36 quarter units of undergraduate Earth science coursework is required to receive unconditional acceptance into the Master’s program.
  6. Availability of faculty and resources in the student’s stated area of interest.
Conditional Admission will be considered for a limited number of applicants not meeting the above requirements and following review of the student’s academic background by the departmental Graduate Program Committee. Such students must meet deficiency requirements stipulated in the statement of conditional admission within the time limit specified.
Gradate Faculty

Jonathan Nourse

Professor and ChairJon Nourse
PhD, Caltech, 1989 Specialties: Structural Geology, Tectonics, Mineral Exploration, Engineering Geology, GIS Applications, Hydrogeology

Jeffrey Marshall

ProfessorJeff Marshall
PhD, Penn State University, 2000
Specialties: Geomorphology, Neotectonics , Geologic Hazards, Watershed Restoration, Coastal Geology

Jascha Polet

Associate ProfessorJascha Polet
PhD, Caltech, 1999
Specialties: Seismology, Geophysics, Hazards Assessment, Tsunami

Stephen Osborn

Assistant ProfessorSteven Osborn
PhD, University of Arizona, 2010
Specialties: Hydrogeology, Aqueous Geochemistry, Groundwater Remediation, Energy and Environment

David Berry

Professor EmeritusDave Berry
PhD, UCLA, 1981
Specialties: Paleontology, Petroleum Geology, Earth History

Nick Van Buer

Assistant ProfessorNick Van Buer
PhD, Stanford University, 2012
Specialties: Petrology, Geochronology, Field Geology, Tectonics, Geographic Information Systems
Financial aid



Additional Financial Aid

In addition to the traditional financial aid provided by teaching assistantships, department faculty are actively engaged in research projects that involve grants and research assistanships to support graduate students. Information on available research funding is dynamic, changing from quarter to quarter and will be posted on this site as available. Faculty also are involved in active consulting ventures, particularly with local mining and petroleum companies. These consulting projects often provide partial or complete support for interested graduate students.

Employment Opportunities for Geoscientists

Employment in geoscience-related occu- pations is expected to grow about 23 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is much faster than the average growth of all U.S. occupations (10%). Environmental engineers are expected to see the largest growth in number of new jobs with a 31 percent growth rate, while geoscience engineering managers are expected to see the smallest growth at 10 percent. Employment growth for aggregated geoscience-related occupations will be most robust in the professional, scientic, and technical services sector (50%) and the waste management sector (32%).

Graduate Employment

The image above provides an indication of the job market for those with advanced degrees. Academia continues to employ the majority of Ph.D. grads. Those with Master's degrees are overwhelmingly employed within the private sector. Studies have shown private sector employment is largely subdivided into the petroleum industry, groundwater and geotechnical firms and to a lesser extent, the mining industry.

Click here for details on Careers in the Geosciences